Archive for March, 2011

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A Look Inside “Peep World” The Movie

March 26, 2011

I was walking by the IFC theater on Sixth Ave and saw “Peep World” was playing and that it stars Michael C. Hall. I hadn’t heard of it but it sparked my interest and I got inside just as the matinee previews ended.

I don’t love when IFC  shows movies in its black box type theater…the space that seats about 25 people, if that. It’s like watching a big screen tv in a living room filled with strangers.

But “Peep World” more than made up for the cramped quarters. The first genuinely funny, character driven film I’ve seen in months. It’s a dark comedy about the neurotic and dysfunctional adult children of a real estate tycoon. Hard feelings boil to the surface after the youngest child writes a tell-all that includes his married brother’s (played by Michael C. Hall) escapades at an adult entertainment shop.

My favorite moment wasn’t on screen, though. Ten minutes in, the woman two seats down wearing a colorful, furry hat turned to me and asked in a heavy Russian accent, “are you here to see ‘My Perestroika?”

“No, this is ‘Peep World.”

“Oh my Gahd, this ees not eet!”

I wonder what finally tipped her off that she wasn’t at the documentary on Russians who grew up during the Cold War, which was showing in another screening room? All the scenes with Americans driving around with California license plates was probably her first clue…

I helped her as she urgently made her way out the dark theater to actually get to see what she came for.

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Elizabeth Taylor And ON THE SCENE This Weekend

March 25, 2011

With the death of Elizabeth Taylor, we’re presenting an ON THE SCENE encore of our interview with paparazzi, Ron Galella.

Galella shot Taylor for decades, most frequently during her marriages to Richard Burton, and often to the couple’s great chagrin.

But his stories of his encounters with Burton are fascinating and with the current interest in Taylor and her relationships, it’s an appropriate time to have another look at Galella’s work.

Tune in March 26, 27th, 7 AM, 12 PM, 4:30 PM each day for a revealing look through the paparazzi lens of Ron Galella.

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Darlene Love And The Rock Hall Of Fame

March 12, 2011

Monday night when a group of iconic figures are inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, I think no one in the bunch will be more appreciative of the moment than Darlene Love.

If you follow ON THE SCENE and my blog you know that I interviewed her a few days after she found out that she would be inducted.

“It’s like winning the Oscar, the Grammy, the Tony altogether, that’s what it’s like for me to get into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame” she told me as she choked up with emotion.

Love is 69 years old, she’s been performing professionally since she was in high school, and spent nearly the first half of her career as a back up singer in the studio and on the road for Cher, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones and Bette Midler, who will induct her into the Hall of Fame.

Love is one of the few singers who can receive a lifetime achievement type award, perform at the ceremony, and not sound like her lifetime of achievements are behind her. Her voice is strong, vibrant, and contemporary.

It’s interesting how many people have emailed or spoken to me since the ON THE SCENE interview aired…a friend of mine who grew up in Greenwich Village remembers her shows at the Bottom Line, another friend would go see her Christmas show at Rainbows and Stars, another loved her on Broadway in “Hairspray.”

Because of the interest in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, the ON THE SCENE episode featuring my interview with Love (and also celebrity photographer Timothy White) will get an encore presentation this weekend, March 12th and 13th at 8 AM, 1 PM and 11:30 PM each day.

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Matt Damon Can Run. And Run. And Run And..

March 6, 2011

“God, aren’t you  tired after all that running?”

That’s what a woman sitting ahead of me in the theater said as we were leaving “The Adjustment Bureau.” She’s right. By the end of the film you wonder if Matt Damon walks anywhere.

He runs down sidewalks, he runs on streets, he runs between cars, he runs through doors, he runs from people, he runs after people, he runs up stairways. Boy, does he run the stairs.  He may hold the record for most stairs ever run  on film.

Someone is always chasing him and he’s always chasing someone.

And sometimes Emily Blunt runs with him. Up stairs. Down sidewalks. Through the street. To the Statue of Liberty. Sometimes they run holding hands.

If that’s not enough Damon’s character runs for office. He runs for U.S. Senate. Twice.

Damon has the “leading man” run. Purposeful in  execution if not in plot.

Damon runs in a suit. He runs in a hat. He looks back to see who’s chasing him as he runs.

Sometimes you think he’s done running. But then he starts running again. I suppose he could walk, but more men buy tickets if the leading man runs a lot. That makes it an action movie. If he’s running to catch up to  a woman the studio likes that because more women buy tickets. It’s a love story, then.

And I didn’t know even the marketing masters of Hollywood could cram this many genres into one film… science fiction, action, political drama, thriller, a love story.

I get running as a metaphor. Damon is running from his past, running for office to heal his childhood heartbreak, running after a woman in a race for happiness. I GET it. We all GET it.

Bad storytelling is beating the audience to death with metaphor. And we don’t need gratuitous action if the script is good.

I just remembered, I have to run to the gym…

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Interviewing Christine Ebersole

March 5, 2011

It was in the works for a couple of weeks, now, and last night I interviewed Christine Ebersole  for ON THE SCENE. (She’s the winner of two Tony Awards for “42nd Street” and “Grey Gardens” ). We also taped her concert rehearsal at the Mayor Center For The Arts in Morristown, New Jersey.

People always ask me about the famous people I’ve interviewed and they mostly want to know who was the biggest jerk, the most difficult, what went wrong, the drama. And sometimes there is plenty of it. But  this time I can say there was none of the above. Disappointing to those who like some dirt with their dish,  I know.

What I notice immediately about the artist I am interviewing is: are they willing to go inside themselves, reveal, show the connection between their life and their art.  Since that is the basis of the ON THE SCENE show, by now most people know those are the type of questions I ask and they come ready to have a conversation.

And Ebersole headed down that road on my first question. She described her new concert being themed on her own maturing, how to age with wisdom and grace and yet stay youthful in spirit.

That’s exactly what a lot of people watching tv at any given moment are experiencing, too, so I know women and men of all ages will relate to what she has to say.